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Nigeria Needs Full Tax Reform—IMF

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Nigeria Needs Full Tax Reform—IMF

By Dipo Olowookere

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has advised Nigeria to embark on a full Value Added Tax (VAT) reform.

With this in place, according to the global lending firm, the country’s economy would be on the way to full recovery.

The lender’s Mission Chief for Nigeria, African Department, Mr Amine Mati, who was a guest at the 2017 Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Investiture in Lagos last weekend, said government must raise taxes where necessary, especially on luxury items.

According to Mr Mati, the Federal Government must broaden its VAT system by revisiting exemptions.

At the event themed ‘Coherent set of Policies for Greater Exchange Rate Flexibility, the IMF chief in Nigeria said government should consider cancelling tax holidays and exemptions that erode the Company Income Tax (CIT) base.

In addition, government should also increase taxes on alcohol and tobacco and broaden VAT by revisiting exemptions, he said.

Mr Mati noted that if the Federal Government can work reform its tax system, the economy would be jumpstarted.

Lately, Nigeria has looked toward tax to generate more revenue due to its fall into recession last year.

Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun, has consistently said the government intends to increase its revenue by increasing its tax base.

According to Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the total number of tax payers in Nigeria is just 12,649,654 [as at April 2017]. Of these, 96 percent have their taxes deducted at source under PAYE and just 4 percent comply with Direct Assessment.

In June 2017, the Federal Government launched the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS).

The platform was put in place for defaulting Nigerian taxpayers to work out a flexible way to pay their outstanding tax liabilities due from them relating to the last six relevant tax years, regularize their tax transactions and obtain genuine tax clearance certificates for all the relevant years without fear of criminal prosecution for tax offences and with the benefit of forgiveness of interest and penalties.

Mrs Adeosun had stated at the launch of the initiative that the policy embraces all federal and state taxes such as Companies Income Tax, Personal Income Tax, Petroleum Profits Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Stamp Duties, Tertiary Education Tax, Technology Tax, Tenement Rates, Property Taxes.

Earlier this month, the Finance Minister said Nigeria will reduce the rate at which it borrows money for developmental projects only if the tax to gross domestic product (GDP) hits 10 percent.

At the moment, the country’s tax to GDP ratio is at 6 percent.

“We must pay taxes properly in Nigeria, if we do this, we do not need to borrow.

“Of course I am not suggesting that there isn’t responsibility on the part of government; we have to be more responsible, to be more efficient (when people citizens pay their taxes).

“We are really focusing on this, we are finding ways to cut cost, but fundamentally, we must invest but we don’t have the power we need, the roads, we are working in progress.

“A lot of money is needed to reposition this economy and we need to generate more through tax.

“We just need to move our tax to GDP from 6 percent from where it is now to 10 percent; it will significantly reduce the amount of money we need to borrow and that will have a wider effect on the economy.

“One, it would reduce the demand for short-term borrowing and help bring down interest rate.

“Two, it would create headroom for the private sector to borrow; that is the strategy,” Mrs Adeosun had said.

At the 3rd International Conference on Tax in Africa (ICTA) held in Abuja from September 25 to 29, 2017, stakeholders highlighted the need for African countries to build stronger domestic tax regimes by strengthening VAT, PIT and CIT.

At the Pan-African Conference on Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from Africa organised by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA) in Nairobi, Kenya, it was said that Africa has lost over $50 billion to multinationals who take advantage of weak tax laws and unfair trade treaties on the continent.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Achieve Greater Control of Your Assets with a Living Trust

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Living Trust

By FBNQuest

Estate Planning is more about gaining control of your assets while you are alive than about one’s passing. A Living Trust (an Estate Planning tool) is one way by which individuals maintain control over their assets whilst alive and also have their wishes carried out when they pass on. It is called a Living Trust because it takes effect during the lifetime of the individual who set it up.

Indeed, the power of a Trust is in the control. A Trust left for a beneficiary will be held and managed by a Trust organisation and the assets could then be distributed to the beneficiary in a predetermined way.

The design of the Trust will ensure that other interested parties are unable to change the instruction of the creator of the Trust. With this arrangement, you are able to achieve greater control over what happens to your assets, providing greater security for the beneficiaries of the Trust.

A Trust also allows you to control how the assets in the Trust are managed, ensuring that only those that you specify can stake a claim to them.

A Living Trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A Revocable Trust can be revoked or amended, but an Irrevocable Trust cannot be changed once it is executed. The assets placed into a properly drafted Irrevocable Trust are permanently removed from the Estate of the individual. They are therefore not considered part of the Estate and will not be subject to estate taxes in the event of the creator’s demise.

In addition to estate tax savings, a Living Trust can offer you tremendous flexibility and efficiency. It can hold the money for your minor children until they are responsible enough to manage the money themselves. If you cannot trust your children or any other beneficiary with the responsibility of managing your assets after your demise, the Trust can address this concern. The trustee can do so by holding the assets in trust for the Settlor’s lifetime and only distribute it to the beneficiary as stated in the Trust.

Placing your assets in the Trust during your lifetime instead of a Will also helps you avoid probate. A Will that is probated as well as other information relating to the assets listed in the Will becomes a public record when you pass on. In contrast, a Living Trust is a private document and the assets listed in it will not be exposed to the general public.

The added benefit of a Living Trust is its usefulness during your lifetime in the event that you become incapacitated. You can arrange for a Trustee to manage the Trust assets on your behalf in the event that you are unable to make decisions for yourself.

Does a Living Trust sound like a good fit for you to gain control of your assets while preparing to gift these assets to a beneficiary? If so, consider reaching out to FBNQuest Trustees. We can help you create a Living Trust agreement that outlines how the Trust assets are to be managed and distributed.

Our team will also walk you through the process of transferring assets to the Trust. The process may take less time than you think.

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Economy

C&I Leasing Drops Centurion Registrars Limited

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Centurion Registrars Limited

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Centurion Registrars Limited has been dropped as the registrar of C&I Leasing Plc, a statement from the company has confirmed.

Centurion Registrars was replaced by C&I Leasing with Cordros Registrars Limited, a notice signed by the company secretary, Mbanugo Udenze & Co, stated.

It was disclosed that the appointment of the new registrar became effective from January 1, 2022.

“C&I Leasing Plc hereby notifies Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), its shareholders and the investing public of the appointment of Cordros Registrars Limited as its Registrars, share registration and data management service provider.

“Cordros Registrars Limited replaces Centurion Registrars Limited and takes over the register of members of C & I Leasing Plc effective January 1, 2022,” the disclosure stated.

C&I Leasing is one of the companies trading its shares on the Nigerian stock exchange. It provides both operating and finance leases and other services.

Its principal activities include the extension of structured operating and finance leases to the productive and other sectors of the economy.

The company was established in 1990 as a private organisation but was converted into a public company listed at the Nigerian stock exchange in 1997.

The Ghanaian subsidiary of the group; Leasafric Ghana Plc is the largest provider of fleet management services in Ghana.

The fleet management, which is managed along with the Hertz car rental franchise in Nigeria, is adequately supported by C&I leasing’s own service centre and their Citracks Telematics solutions making the fleet management business a one-stop brand for fleet management services.

Over the weekend, in a chat with newsmen, its chief executive, Mr Ugoji Ugoji, said the firm was planning to explore opportunities in the digital space to grow its revenue on a sustainable basis despite the pandemic.

He also stated that C&I Leasing will retool its fleet business and focus on vehicle fleets due to increased opportunity in the space.

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Economy

Nigeria’s December 2021 Inflation Jumps to 15.63%

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Nigeria's inflation

By Dipo Olowookere

For the first time in nine months, the inflation rate in Nigeria increased to 15.63 per cent year-on-year in December 2021, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday stated.

In the previous eight months, the inflation rate in Nigeria had slowed, declining to 15.40 per cent in November 2021, according to the stats office.

In the report released today, the NBS said when compared with the corresponding period of 2020, inflation, which is a measure of the consumer price index (CPI), moderated by 0.13 per cent as it stood at 15.75 per cent a year ago.

The stats office further disclosed that increases were recorded in all COICOP divisions that yielded the headline index and on a month-on-month basis, it rose by 1.82 per cent last month, 0.74 per cent higher than the 1.08 per cent recorded in November 2021.

In addition, the percentage change in the average composite CPI for the 12-month period ending December 2021 increased by 16.95 per cent from 16.98 per cent over the average of the CPI for the previous 12-month period recorded in November 2021 down by 0.03 per cent points.

As for urban inflation, it increased by 16.17 per cent (year-on-year) in December 2021 from 16.33 per cent in December 2020, while rural inflation jumped by 15.11 per cent in December 2021 from 15.20 per cent in December 2020.

On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.87 per cent in December 2021, up by 0.75 the rate recorded in November 2021, which stood at 1.12 per cent, while the rural index also rose by 1.77 per cent in December 2021, up by 0.73 the rate that was recorded in November 2021, which was 1.04 per cent.

Business Post reports that in the period under review, the composite food sub-index rose by 17.37 per cent compared with 19.56 per cent a year ago, indicating a decline by 2.19 per cent.

The NBS attributed this to moderation in the prices of bread and cereals, food product, meat, fish, potatoes, yam and other tuber, soft drinks and fruit.

On a month-on-month basis, the food sub-index increased by 2.19 per cent in December 2021, up by 1.12

Per cent from 1.07 per cent recorded in November 2021.

It said the average annual rate of change of the food sub-index for the 12-month period ending December 2021 over the previous twelve-month average was 20.40 per cent, 0.22 per cent lower than the average annual rate of change recorded in November 2021, which stood at 20.62 per cent.

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